Shoot Planning #1: Shoot Diagrams

Using shoot diagrams
Fig 1 Prep diagram for It is written
Shoot planning is a crucial stage in the photographers work flow, and in particular being able to communicate your idea's to the model and anyone else involved in the shoot. Personally I find shoot diagrams can be really useful at the planning stage particularly if I'm building sets or working with specific themes. It not only helps me to visualise what I want to achieve but also assists in conveying that vision to others.

Fig 1 shows a diagram I did a little while back, this idea ended up morphing completely into a short film that I made with  Lauren Marie called It is written.

How to make an effective shoot diagram
Fig 2 Prep diagram for Katy Cee shoot  ~ card hung from the ceiling
I use a very simple method for drawing shoot diagrams in photoshop. Firstly find a few images of models in various poses. It helps if these poses roughly align with your overall theme. Open a new document in photoshop and pop you reference photo in. On a new layer simply trace the models outline with a small hard brush (it helps if you have a graphics tab to do this) .

Adding details and props
At this stage turn off the ref photo and you can then begin drawing in props and set pieces, clothing and even colours either as swatches down the side of the image or as part of the image. In addition to this I sometimes find it useful to add thumbnail ref photo's to illustrate lighting, props and mood etc. Use your imagination there really is a massive amount you can do with this.

Shoot diagrams in practise
For my  art nude shoot with Katy Cee I wanted to create a set in the studio with lots of objects hung from the ceiling, at the planning stage I wasn't quite sure what these objects would be and using shoot diagrams really helped formulise my idea's and discuss them with Katy. The idea's I had in mind for what objects to use where; Leaves, feathers, petals, sheets of card or broken dolls. We both liked the sheets of card idea and in the end I found some wonderful sheets of coloured acetate in my local craft store that worked out even better.

Related links
You can see the rest of the images from this shoot here..

and check out more of Katys work here...

Katy also runs a wonderful photography props hire company specialising in stuffed animals, you can check that out here..

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